LSG Hank Bluffs Doug Polk For 1M at Huster Casino Live (PioSolver analysis)

LSG Hank Goes For It

After a disappointing start, the Hustler Casino Live million dollar game turned out to be the most exciting poker event in a long time, living up to initial hype and exceeding it. Several crazy hands were played, and one of the craziest was a relative unknown LSG Hank jamming on the river with Ace high for $987,000 dollars. Polk was put in the blender with a pair of Aces and ended up letting it go. Here, we'll review this hand in PioSolver and see how the players aligned or diverged from an equilbrium strategy.

Hustler Casino Live

In case you missed the hand, playing $500/$1k with a $3k BB ante, LSG Hank opened with AJ of diamonds from the hijack and Polk 3-bet to 30k from the small blind with Aces. The flop came down Q43 rainbow with one diamond and Polk continued small for $23k into $65k and Hank called. The turn was the 8 of diamonds, giving Hank the nut flush draw. Polk sized up and bet $80k into $111k and Hank called. The river was the 9 of hearts, mostly a brick though completed a backdoor gutshot on the board for the JT. Polk again sized up and bet $200k. Hank had just Ace high but raised to $987k, and Doug ended up incorrectly folding in a massive pot and being shown the bluff.

The ranges

Polk told his fans he would be coming to battle and so was 3-betting very aggressively going into his hand. Doug is still somewhat of a technical player though, so we'd expect to see more suited combos and a wide but reasonable range. Hank is also somewhat wide having raised and just flatted a 3-bet, although we give him credit for occasionally slowplaying a monster like his own Aces.

Here's what we configured Doug's range to look like:

Doug's range

And here's what we configured Hank's range to look like:

Hanks's range

The Flop

On the flop, at equilbrium Polk is checking 63% of his range. When he does bet, he can bet small, big, or overbet. With Aces he mixes evenly between all these options. That ensures he has strong hands in all his lines.

Doug's flop range

In the game, Doug small bets 25% pot (25k). LSG Hank calls.

Facing the small bet, AJdd is a pure call. What might be surprising is that even AJ of spades is mostly calling despite no backdoor. This call may have appeared to be slightly loose but it’s not, it would actually be way too tight to fold to the small sizing.

Hanks's flop range

The Turn

Doug's turn range

The turn puts out the 8d for a diamond draw and some gutshots. On this turn, Doug should either be sizing up or sometimes checking. He chooses to size up and bets 81k. LSG Hank calls, and once again this is where the solver pure calls. Note that AJ of diamonds is a pure call and the other AJs are pure folds so overall AJs is a 25% call.

Hanks's turn range

Doug's River Bet

On the river, Doug's Aces are a pure big bet. Some may wonder why he wouldn't slow down and check call, but at equilbirum, he is way too high up his range with way too strong a hand to do anything but make a big value bet. Doug does this and bets $200k.

Doug's river range

So far in the hand, all actions taken have aligned totally with a solver equilibrium strategy. Doug’s river bet does as well, as his aces are a pure big bet.

The alignment with equilbirum finally falls apart for LSG Hank’s river raise. Despite having the Jack of diamonds, blocking and matching the JTs of diamonds, AJ of diamonds is a pure fold.

Keep in mind, Doug actually has the JT straight more often then Hank does (3.6% vs 2%). But you’ll notice neither of them have it very often. Hank also raises a lot of his two pair and set hands before river. So Hank actually doesn’t have that much value to have a ton of bluffs.

Also remember that Doug is getting 2.3 to 1 here so only needs to be good 30% of the time.

The bluffs he does have is mostly drawn from pocket tens, which makes sense since you’d rather block multiple combos of JTs.

Hank's's river range

That’s not to say the bluff with AJs was necessarily wrong. I doubt the EV would change much if we bluffed less often with TT and more with AJs. But it does suggest that Hank may be overbluffing here.

Doug's Decision

Faced with the decision, Doug seems undecided and even leaves it up to a random event. Doug has a good feel for equilbirum since his Aces should be calling about half the time here.

Doug's River Decision

Doug thought he should call about 25% of the time, which if Hank is bluffing enough, is a bit overfolding. Since as we’ve noted Hank is probably overbluffing, Doug’s adjustment is in the wrong direction, and Hank may be “exploiting” Doug’s overfolding by overbluffing.

Doug at one point regretted not checking, but if he wanted to check, it would have been better to do earlier in the hand - although even then it’s mostly to set up check raises. Aces is close to the nuts on this board for out-of-position, which Doug correctly notes and made him at least consider calling off with one pair for the biggest pot of his life.

Of course, this hand could simply be explained as Hank picked the right time to put a man to the test for all of his chips. It’s a classic “he has it or he doesn’t” tough spot for Doug holding a bluff catcher against a polarized range in a huge pot. Unfortunately, Doug made the wrong read and Hank made a highlight reel bluff of the day.

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